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What happens if you don’t change the oil in your car? (with images)

There’s a reason experts recommend a vehicle oil change every 3,000-5,000 miles. Sure, you’ve forgotten to schedule an oil change for over 6,000 miles and most likely nothing bad happened. So what does the oil actually do and why does it need to be changed so often?

The job of your vehicle’s oil:

Your vehicle needs oil for lubrication and as your oil circulates within your engine’s components, it draws the heat away to keep your vehicle cool and running smoothly.

Man looking under the car hood trying to figure out if its the car battery or the starter

Why do you need oil changes so often?

Between the dirt, debris and particles your oil becomes too contaminated to continue being effective. Additionally, even if your engine’s clean enough to eat off of, the friction of constantly running through your engine’s parts causes the oil to lose elasticity and become less and less effective at preventing overheating. Because of this, we stand by the recommendation of an oil change with conventional oil at 3,000 miles and synthetic oil changes every 5,000.

What happens if you don’t change the oil?

Okay, so we’ve told you why experts recommend oil changes at particular milestones, but let’s pretend you’re as stubborn as my mother in law… 

What really happens if you don’t get your oil changed? A picture’s worth a thousand words. Buckle up, it gets messy.

True Story With Real Life Images

During the summer of 2020 a young couple is heading to Virginia Beach, VA for a weekend away and a relaxing time. Along the drive, their Jeep’s Check Engine Light came on as well as the oil pressure light. They pulled over and shut the Jeep off to check out the problem. After checking the oil and determining they may need to add some, they jumped back in their vehicle to head to a gas station. Only, the Jeep wouldn’t start. It wouldn’t even turn over. This weekend was not going as they had hoped, planned or packed for. 

Cue Jessee Towing and Global Automotive mechanics. 

Our mechanics quickly found the vehicle to be 3.5 quarts low on oil. That’s really low, folks. A typical oil change uses 5 quarts total. 

The motor was locked and our mechanics couldn’t turn the crank or even get a noise out of it. They checked the oil filter for metal, but luckily didn’t find any. In a Hail Mary attempt, he added oil and was able to turn the engine over… but the oil pressure dived back to zero after just a few seconds. We returned to the customer for authorization to find the real problem. Once approved to take a deeper look, he removed the oil pan and found a mechanic’s nightmare….

what happens if you don't change your oil?

Oil caked on like tar.

The entire engine soaked in sticky syrup too thick to even drip. The thick coating due to neglecting an engine and it’s low-cost oil needs.

Their weekend could've looked like this....

taking care of maintenance makes sure you get where you're going

But instead... it was looking like this.

Fortunately for this couple, they were able to rent a car, leave their jeep and head on to their vacation as planned. Our mechanics worked to replace the pick up to the oil pump, flushed the engine and with a new oil change it was ready for them to pick up when they got back. They were lucky the damage wasn’t as intense as others we’ve seen and now they, and you, know why you need to change your oil every 3,000-5,000 miles.

Schedule your maintenance services today at Global Automotive of Bealeton!

1 thought on “What happens if you don’t change the oil in your car? (with images)”

  1. Seeing the state of car oil when it’s left to deteriorate really alarmed me. That definitely does look like something that I should try to avoid at all costs since we’re trying to do our best to maintain our car and avoid any safety risks. I’ll look around for any auto services where I can take my vehicle and get an oil change.

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